Tip #1: Drink enough water
When temperatures rise, it’s not just truck drivers who should make sure they drink enough fluids, especially on very hot days. The physical strain and the heat can quickly lead to a lack of fluids, which has a negative effect on concentration and reaction times. For this reason, every driver should always carry sufficient water or other suitable beverages with them and drink regularly. It is also essential to have sufficient water supplies in case of a breakdown or road closure.
The recommended amount to drink varies depending on body weight, activity, climate and individual needs, but on average, adults should generally drink about 2-3 liters of fluid per day. However, in summer, with higher temperatures and increased sweating, drink more than the recommended amount to compensate for fluid loss and avoid dehydration. Drinks such as water, tea or other low-calorie beverages at room temperature are good. In very hot and dry regions, it can also be helpful to consume salty drinks or foods to balance the body’s electrolyte balance.
Important: Coffee consumption in particular, but also alcohol consumption in the evening, should be monitored in the hot months. These can have a dehydrating effect, so it is particularly important to always take sufficient other fluids in addition.
Tip #2: Healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for truck drivers on long trips, especially on hot days. To stay fit and focused, they should make sure to eat balanced meals that are rich in protein and fiber. Fatty and hard-to-digest foods like fast food should be avoided and instead replaced with lighter options like fruits and vegetables. Snacks such as berries, melons, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers are full of nutrients and also hydrate the body. Nuts or yogurt can help keep hunger at bay and meet energy needs. Avoid too much sugar, it can lead to additional water loss and great fatigue during the day.
Tip #3: Protection from the sun
We all know how nice the sun shining through the driver’s side window can be, but too much sun can also be dangerous. The left arm in particular catches a sunburn very quickly. Sunscreen with a high sun protection factor can help, but it should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure.
A nasty sunburn not only hurts, but can also make it difficult to sleep, and we all know how important it is for drivers to get enough sleep. More importantly, sunburn can lead to dangerous health risks like skin cancer. Alternatives to sunscreen include UV-protective window coverings or wearing a light, long-sleeved shirt. Head coverings such as hats or caps are also recommended to protect the head and face from direct sunlight. In addition, be sure to wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays.
Tip #4: Underestimated danger – Sunstroke
Sunstroke is a serious condition caused by excessive sun exposure. Signs of sunstroke may initially resemble heat stroke, including dryness of the mouth, headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. In addition, increased body temperature, rapid pulse and increased breathing are possible. In advanced stages, symptoms can get worse and cause insomnia, confusion, seizures and even unconsciousness.
If you or someone close to you develops symptoms of sunstroke, take immediate action to prevent harm. Seek shade or a cool place and drink adequate fluids. Place wet cloths on your head or neck. A cool shower or wet cold towels will also help lower body temperature. Avoid activities that can raise body temperature and spend time in cool rooms until your condition improves. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
Note: In severe cases, be sure to call for help using 911.
Tip #5: Auxiliary means for cooling in the truck
One way to regulate the temperature in the vehicle is to use technical aids for cooling. There are various options here: Air conditioning is probably the best-known method of ensuring a comfortable temperature in the truck. When it comes to air conditioning, it should be noted that incorrect adjustment can not only lead to high costs, but also affect the health of the driver. To avoid this, make sure that the air conditioner is not set too cold, and the air circulation is not directed directly to the body. A comfortable room temperature of 20-22 degrees Celsius is ideal. In addition, filters should be cleaned regularly to ensure effective cooling and ventilation. Opening the windows at low speed can also provide a pleasant supply of fresh air.
Other cooling options include placing sunscreen film on the windows to block heat from the sun and reflectors on the windshield to reflect sunlight. Placing damp cloths or towels on the windows can also help cool the inside of the cab. In addition, installing ventilation systems powered by solar panels or using waste heat from the engine can help bring air into the cab, as well as portable fans or air conditioners powered by the vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
Tip #6: Proper clothing in the heat
Truck drivers should look for light and airy clothing made of breathable materials such as cotton or linen. Dark colors should be avoided, as they absorb the sun’s rays, which can further heat up the body. Instead, light colors that reflect the sunlight should be chosen. Another option is to wear special protective clothing with UV protection that is specifically designed for outdoor use.
Tip #7: Check your vehicle
Compared to cooler temperatures, the hot climate of the summer months can pose certain risks to trucks. The high temperatures can affect the brakes and cause them to discolor. This happens when the brake lining and the brake rotor no longer generate enough mutual friction due to overheating. As a consequence, braking becomes more difficult or braking functions are even lost altogether. Be sure to check the brakes in hot conditions before you start driving to make sure they are working properly.
Tip #8: Breaks and rest periods
Regular breaks and rest periods are especially essential for truck drivers in the heat, because not only the physical stress of driving, but also the heat can quickly lead to exhaustion. Even though it is difficult to do this despite the time pressure and driver stress, and the official break times are far above that, drivers should make sure to take a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours. This time should be used to rest and relax. The best place to do this is in a shaded area where you can lie down or at least sit down.
More cooling tips for your breaks:
- Take a shower before your break and sit in the shade with wet hair, this will cool you down.
- Take off sturdy shoes, wear airy shoes during the break.
- Lift your legs during the break, cooling gels can help with heavy legs.